WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and the European Union announced a modest agreement Friday to cut tariffs on less than $300 million worth of annual trade between them.
The EU will drop import taxes on U.S. lobster for the next five years and will work to make the move permanent.
For its part, the United States agreed to cut in half tariffs on EU imports worth about $160 million a year, including some prepared meals, crystal glassware and cigarette lighters. The tariff cuts are retroactive to Aug. 1.
U.S. lobster imports to the EU came to about $111 million in 2017 before falling off in the face of rising tensions between the trading partners and an EU trade agreement with Canada that favored Canadian lobster. Maine’s beleaguered lobster industry had pleaded for relief.
The pact covers a fraction of U.S.-EU trade, which came to more than $1.3 trillion last year. The limited deal is part of ongoing trade negotiations that were announced in 2018.
“We intend for this package of tariff reductions to mark just the beginning of a process that will lead to additional agreements that create more free, fair, and reciprocal transatlantic trade,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan said in a joint statement.